Interview with Louisa Adjoa Parker

Interview with Louisa Adjoa Parker

The writer is a lonely hunter

Gail Aldwin

Louisa is a writer, poet and Arts Project Co-ordinator who has lived in the West Country since she was 13. Her first poetry collection, Salt-sweat and Tears was published by Cinnamon Press to critical acclaim in 2007. She has also written a book and exhibition about the history of African and Caribbean people in Dorset over the past 400 years, both entitled Dorset’s Hidden Histories. Louisa has recently worked on a project using images and stories to celebrate multi-ethnic Dorset. Funded by Arts Council England and Dorset County Council, the exhibition and book is called All Different, All Dorset was launched in September 2011. Louisa is passionate about equality and the Arts, and hopes to inspire people from a range of backgrounds to become interested in writing.  

Let’s start with your writing journey

I wrote a few adventure stories when I was about six, which my mum said were like Enid Blyton books and I still have a poem written at that time. When I was a teenager I kept a diary for three years and wrote about everything that happened to me. As an adult, I turned to letter writing to try to sort out problems with relationships. In 2002, I went to Exeter University to complete the degree I’d started with the Open University, and I began writing poetry alongside the essays and coursework. I was encouraged by Selima Hill and I had a poem published in a magazine. Getting published was exciting and encouraged me to write more. I realised I had a lot to say about being dual heritage and growing up in white communities. My Dad is Ghanaian and came to England in the late 60s for education and he met and married my mum and had three children with her. We lived in Yorkshire, Cambridgeshire, and then when my Dad left we moved to Devon. Growing up knowing only the white side of my family was weird. No one wanted to talk about my background. Writing helped me to explore unresolved issues around my identity. It helped me come to terms with some of the things that had happened, racism and domestic violence…

Read the entire interview here.

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